analyzing affective trajectory in Schubert’s “Trockne Blumen”
There are practically no existing studies in applying insights from psychologists and philosophers into how emotion unfolds as a process across an actual piece of music in any analytical detail. This essay on one of Schubert’s greatest songs, ‘Trockne Blumen’, from his song cycle ‘Die Schone Mullerin’, is a first step to address this lack. Spitzer begins by focusing on the role of highpoints in clarifying the distinction between vocal and instrumental affect. He then explores the song as an unfolding of sadness as a kind of human reflective behaviour, defined by a more data-driven, bottom-up attention to musical detail. He follows writers such as Katz in argueing that Sadness is a scenario or indeed a ‘trajectory’, encompassing episodes of memory and joy. The thrust of Spitzer’s essay is that the persona theory of music can be extended to describe a work as imitating a person both in action and in thought.
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